While everyone was having fun at RWA I’ve done a little quiet celebrating myself. This past Friday, I finally completed the 2nd draft of my mess-in-progress. 🙂
This may not sound like much but it’s huge for me, because it means the plot and characters have evolved from the primordial ooze of the 1st draft into something that promises to be a story.
It’s the most difficult part of my process. I still have a load more research to do (my plots always twist, requiring new areas of research). I have a lot of rewriting to do, but I am a very good rewriter.
Still my inner demons remind me it’s been about 2 years since I started this story. And…sigh…I’ve heard readers forget authors if there’s a gap of more than a year between books.
I can’t really do anything about that. I’m not a fast writer. This particular story is taking longer because I’ve also worked on 3 other stories at the same time and struggled to locate my errant muse. But even at my best pace it takes time for me to understand my characters. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to write more than one book a year–not a book I’d want my name on, anyway.
This isn’t to imply that taking longer on a book necessarily ends up in a better read. I have read some books that had great concepts but which I thought needed more development. On the other hand, if the concept isn’t workable, no amount of polishing will fix it.
Nor am I saying prolific authors can’t produce quality. We all have different processes. But I have this feeling that the sort of stories I most enjoy require maturing time. Many of my favorite authors take a year or more per book. In the case of those who write more quickly I’m willing to bet the stories were already percolating in their minds ahead of time.
I’m also not sure I buy the whole reader forgetfulness thing. I know I will pounce on the next Judith Ivory or Laura Kinsale whenever they come out. Now *blush* I am not implying my books are anywhere near as memorable as theirs. I’d just rather like to think a few readers will remember me kindly by the time my next one comes out!
So anyway, what do you think about the relationship between the time it takes to write a book and its quality? Do you think the average reader does forget authors after a year? Are there authors you’ll wait for?
To me, the time it takes to write depends on the writer. There are books I’ve read and thought could have been better if they’d been given more time. There are also stories I’ve read that I don’t care how much time they might be given would never be worth reading.
I definitely do not agree with the idea that authors are forgotten. I bookmark my favorites and check their sites periodically. A few of my favorites have had nothing out since Christmas (or January), but I keep checking anyway, just in case. I’d hate to miss one of their books.
In my research about what I like and don’t like about romance books, I’ve discovered that it’s more about the author than the story. If I liked one of their stories, I usually like others. I’ve taken to keeping a list of authors I want to collect, ones I’d read another story if I thought it interesting, and those I’ll not read again. Now when I look at the available books, I check for the author first.
And the photo is gorgeous!
See, I’m not sure if they books that don’t work for me would be better if the author had more time. I think we all write at our own pace and that’s that.
As a reader, I certainly don’t forget an author who makes a good impression. I wait eagerly for their next book!
A lot of my favorite writers are slow. I consider it the norm.
I agree with Kalen that each author will write at their own pace but I will admit that I am going to more forgiving of a bad book if it is the author’s only book of the year vs. if the book is one of four that she has put out in a year.
I dont know if I am the “average reader” but I do know that Celeste Bradley and Nicole Jordan are two authors who wont have a new book out in 2007. Obviously I havent forgotten them. I do believe that both will have 3 books out in early 2008 to make up for it though.
I absoutely choose books based on the author, anything else is a risk that I won’t like it, right? And I am happy to be patient – especially if the author continues to deliver.
congrats on finishing the draft, Elena. Wish me luck on finishing mine. From slowgirl 2.
I suppose some readers might, given a lot of time, forget an author they vaguely liked…but I think few would forget an author they quite definitely liked.
Certainly, if I saw a Regency in the store by Sheila Simonson or Alicia Rasley, I’d grab it up lickety split!
Some of my favorite authors write slowly…and some don’t. Though I do wish certain authors would write faster (just a selfish desire as a reader), I’m no less likely to buy their books when they come out after a long gap!
Congratulations on the second draft, Elena!
I don’t think readers forget good writers; look at Thomas Pynchon, and Donna Tartt. And you!
So spend as much time as is necessary to write the story you want.
Woo-Woo Elena on finishing your draft.
And pooh-pooh about readers forgetting authors. Readers tend to be a loyal bunch unless we’re pissed off. I don’t think length-of-time has anything to do with quality. Some writers write fast, other slower. It just is.
Congrats on finishing the second draft, Elena! I’m in awe of writers who can write fast. I’ve always been a slow writer (I think Kalen’s right, authors work at different speeds). I certainly haven’t forgotten authors I’ve loved who haven’t had books out for years, so I definitely don’t forget writers who only have a book out a year (or even less frequently than that).
I’m with Kalen–some writers are fast and some are slow, and it IMHO it doesn’t impact the quality of the work as long as they aren’t pushed beyond their natural pace. Some writers can turn out 2 or 3 excellent books per year, and bless ’em for giving me plenty to read! But I certainly don’t forget authors I love if I go a year or two without seeing a new book on the shelves.
I have read books that felt rushed, sloppy, and slapdash compared to the author’s other efforts. In many cases I’ve discovered that I was right–either the publisher rushed the author for some reason or some kind of crisis in the author’s life left them with less time and energy to write than normal. But that rushing is relative to the author’s natural pace, too.
In general, if I love an author’s books, I’ll keep track of her no matter how long it takes to get a new book (though I might be tempted to camp on her doorstep and demand that she WRITE FASTER!). But if a book is forgettable, I can forget it just as thoroughly in six months as in six years.
Nah, authors, I don’t think, are going to be forgotten. . . most of us have our favorite authors and we’ll always wait.
Selfishly, of course, I do wish that the authors who only have a book a year come out would do way more. . . LOL But hey, I know there is a big difference between writing them and reading them. 😉 So guarantee you, most of the time, whenever you guys write it, we’ll be there to pick it up. 🙂
Thanks for all the encouragement, friends! And it’s nice to know that the reader forgetfulness thing isn’t a universal truth.
Susan Wilbanks wrote:
though I might be tempted to camp on her doorstep and demand that she WRITE FASTER!
So, how many of us are going to go camp on Elena’s doorstep? 🙂
Just kidding, Elena! You write at what speed your muse dictates, and we’ll all just wait eagerly for your next book.
And I’d write faster if there weren’t so much blogging action out there… 😉 … oh, well
So happy to hear you are on your second draft! I’ve missed your writing and look forward to seeing this one out there.
I’m always checking up on my favorite authors no matter how long it takes for their books to get out there.